How Do Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominations Affect Popularity On Spotify?

Shout out to: Malcolm MacLean‘s book, Data Driven Documents D3.js Tips and Tricks v4 which made these really super easy.

See, this here is the endgame — the kind of thing I learned D3 and coding so that I could create. This is what makes programming fun. The following are based on data I collect using the Spotify API.

Here are the inductees in the class of 2019 for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I was in a hurry. I’ll tweak the math for legend placement later.

Here are those who were nominated but not inducted.

I was in a hurry. I’ll put the names in a container later. Maybe.

Nominations were released October 9. You can tell I wasn’t tracking a few of these artists (John Prine, Todd Rundgren, Roxy Music, Stevie Nicks, Janet Jackson) until that date because their lines don’t start until then. There seems to be a slight gain for each (maybe) but that’s total “correlation not causation” because these are Spotify’s very relative and ever-fluctuating “popularity” scores not playcounts.

Suppose the Beatles are higher than all these artists and John Lennon says something stupid like, say, “We’re more popular than Jesus” — the Beatles popularity goes down and since it’s a zero-sum game with Spotify Popularity, everyone who doesn’t put their foot in their mouth gets a bump.

Which, looking at the above graphs, begs the question, “What happened at the end of June to make everyone crash and in mid-July to cause everyone’s climb back up?”

Another, more intriguing point, is early April when the MC5, Radiohead, and the Cure all spiked up and right back down.

Spotify doesn’t answer any of my questions so we’ll never know.

Even if nominations don’t affect anything significantly, we can watch and see if the induction has any significant effect.


2018 Books of the Year

  • Data Visualization with Python and Javascript: Scrape, Clean, Explore & Transform Your Data by Kyran Dale
  • Web Scraping with Python: Collecting More Data from the Modern Web 2nd Edition by Ryan E. Mitchell
    2nd edition bigger and even better than the first and the first one was really freaking awesome!
  • LPIC-1 Linux Professional Institute Certification Study Guide: Exam 101-400 and Exam 102-400 by Christine Bresnahan
    How I wish I’d read this book before many other Linux books!
  • Interactive Data Visualization for the Web: An Introduction to Designing with D3
    2nd Edition by Scott Murray
    The more good D3 resources I find, the more mixed my feelings are about this book but it is so packed with awesome stuff I feel morally obligated to keep it on the list.
  • Data Driven Documents: D3.JS Tips and Tricks v4.x by Malcolm Maclean
    Perhaps the best part about this book is he wrote it as he learned so he is sure to keep the learning-person/student in mind as he explains things and offers insights (such as potential mistakes and confusing concepts).
  • Building Progressive Web Apps: Bringing the Power of Native to the Browser by Tal Ater
    I grabbed it at the library because the library is free so there would be no consequences if my low expectations were met. I recommend this book by itself and as a pre-requisite to Archibald’s course below. 
  • Data Journalism Handbook 2 (just released!) from the European Journalism Centre and Google News Initiative

Not Books But Amazing Resources I Was Elbow Deep In Throughout the Year

  • Any video, course, or documentation by Jake Archibald including but not limited to:
  • Udacity — not only did I earn a Mobile Web Specialist nanodegree I actually learned a ton! I won’t link to it, however, because they have autoplay media on the page and I can’t condone or support that.
  • FreeCodeCamp — resumed my coursework there after finishing the above nanodegree and it is better than ever! In particular …
    • Their Data Visualization content rocks my world — I’m not taking anything away from Murray‘s book but FCC certainly explains the foundations much more clearly and concisely so I recommend going through it first even if you don’t move on the projects phase.

Florida Cannibal Corpse Man

Detroit is known for many, many, countless great things — not the least of which is giving the world great music over, and over again.

You’re welcome.

Florida, on the other hand, is known for … 99.999% ridiculous crap and Tom Petty.

One such pride and joy of the Tampa area is Cannibal Corpse. In honor of guitarist Patrick O’Brien’s arrest today, here’s some data viz we’ll compare to any jumps in response to his shenanigans.

Bar chart measuring Cannibal Corpse albums popularity
Popularity of Cannibal Corpse albums per the Spotify API as of Dec 9, 2018. (Click for larger)

For those of you unfamiliar with the band, here are their most popular tracks on Spotify (as of Dec. 9, 2018). “Addicted to Vaginal Skin” is the one that’s stuck with me in the twenty years since I found one of their cassettes in the garbage at college.

Album Title
Track Title
Track Popularity


Tomb Of The Mutilated Hammer Smashed Face 51
Torture Scourge of Iron 47
Evisceration Plague Evisceration Plague 45
Tomb Of The Mutilated I Cum Blood 44
Red Before Black Code of the Slashers 43
A Skeletal Domain Kill or Become 41
The Bleeding Stripped, Raped, And Strangled 40
Red Before Black Only One Will Die 40
Red Before Black Red Before Black 39
Kill Make Them Suffer 38
Tomb Of The Mutilated Addicted to Vaginal Skin 35
Red Before Black Shedding My Human Skin 35
Red Before Black Remaimed 33
Evisceration Plague Priests Of Sodom 33
The Bleeding Fucked With A Knife 33

Normally, it really, really bothers me that Spotify only supplies a “popularity” score — a relative number ranking all artists against each other — instead of a more quantifiable and useful “playcount” number but, in this case, it makes for some fun comparisons.

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 9.16.19 PM.png

As of yesterday, Cannibal Corpse’s popularity on Spotify is 55. That’s down from 58 one year ago which was their high since I’ve been collecting data on them. It should be noted, though, it is up from their low of 50 for the last three weeks of July 2018.

As I said, by itself those numbers are meaningless until we put them in context. While 55 isn’t as high as Insane Clown Posse‘s (a Detroit export–you’re welcome) current popularity of 58 or Slayer‘s 68, it is definitely higher than … well, we can only assume they are less talented artists judging by poor popularity scores such as

  • Lindsey Buckingham (51)
  • Venom at (48)
  • Gwar at (47)
  • Stryper (46)
  • King’s X (39)
  • Was (not Was) (34)

For further comparison, Queen (97) recently overtook Eminem (95) as the highest popularity score in my database (I don’t collect data on everyone–just those I find interesting).

Pop quiz: Who, according to Spotify, is the more genre-hopping artist of the following?

  • Cannibal Corpse
  • David Bowie
  • Bob Dylan
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Cyndi Lauper
  • Elton John
  • Jack White

If you guessed either Cannibal Corpse or Bob Dylan, you’d be correct! They are tied at nine genres each. Elton John only crosses over into five and David Bowie into seven. What are these diverse genres Cannibal Corpse finds themselves in?

  • death metal
  • alternative metal
  • brutal death metal
  • speed metal
  • deathgrind
  • groove metal
  • metal
  • nu metal
  • technical death metal

Yeah, I know. I learned this yesterday.

My little app with the clever name Pop Rock (get it?) was built with Javascript, D3, PHP, MySQL, and love.

Dec 19 update: Howard Altman’s story in today’s paper shows the events were far weirder than initially known. As you can see below, after one week, CC‘s popularity spiked a single point for a single day. I’ve never seen a spike and drop like that happen. My guts (see what I did there?) tell me it’s unrelated, however.


Data Journalism Roxor My Soxor

I think I’ve decided on my niche and what RoxorSoxor is to be.

Now going through Doing Journalism with Data: First Steps, Skills and Tools and the Google News Initiative‘s Fundamentals course while waiting to find out if I am among the #GoogleUdacityScholars selected for Phase 2 of the GrowWithGoogle scholarship.

Loving both.

While working on an exercise in lesson 11 of the GWG Challenge course, I learned that the Tampa Bay Times used to be the St. Petersburg Times and they are the ones who started Politifact!

The St. Pete Times bit is important to me because when I was a young teenager, I had the opportunity of getting to know an investigative reporter and ask him over the course of several conversations about what it would take for me to get into journalism. He recommended the St. Pete Times as a great paper to read and work for. It was led for decades by one Mr. Poynter, followed by his son who left all of his ownership stock in the paper to start the Poynter Institute.

They have a history of excellent journalism and they only got better over time. Even as they almost ceased to exist, they racked up a few Pulitzers and, while being a bit slow on the online uptake, they not only did that whole Politifact thing but kinda showed the world was data journalism was.

They really kick ass and … might make me feel like coming to this area is my destiny and not a big, fat mistake.